NEWSLETTER: Autumn 2015

March 01, 2015 posted in Food

Spice Appreciation Classes

Demand for our Spice Appreciation Classes and Spice Blending Workshops continues even after all these years, and all the 2015 dates for these are now available on the website or at the Rozelle store. All-day Saturday sessions, which comprise the Spice Appreciation Class followed by lunch and the Workshop, run from 10.30 until 3.30, and are scheduled only three times during the year, so you’d be well advised to book early if you’re interested in a total immersion in all things spicy

Italian Herbs or Italian Seasoning

Italian Herbs or Italian Seasoning … which one is right for your needs? The difference is the extra dimension to the Seasoning blend; paprika, tomato powder, salt, chilli and allspice (in addition to the Italian herb mix of basil, marjoram, oregano, parsley, thyme, sage and rosemary) give a greater depth of flavour, making it a more complete seasoning. That’s not to say that the wonderful combination of herbs in the Italian Herbs blend is not perfectly satisfying as an addition to a pasta sauce, soup or pizza. The choice is yours

What is Single Origin?

There are some terms that have begun to appear on the labels of products to give us, the consumers, extra information. One of these is single origin, often relating to huge consumption items such as coffee, but equally applicable to any other agricultural products. Suppose you have a bag of coffee beans that comes from a warehouse which buys in beans from Brazil, India and Indonesia before mixing them all together, roasting and packaging them … definitely not from one origin. But if all your coffee beans have come from Brazil, they can be termed single origin … they do not have to come from just one farm or even just one region, although in some cases a product can come from a single farm, as with our kaffir lime leaves and curry leaves. The term is occasionally applied to spices, although we have never chosen to use it. The label will often tell you; for instance, Safrron Iranian comes from the single origin of Iran, Saffron Kashmiri comes from the single origin of Kashmir. TGSEB (Tellicherry Garbled Special Extra Bold, to give them their full title) peppercorns are from the Tellicherry district of Southern India. Hungarian Sweet Paprika is obviously from Hungary. Australian peppercorns, Aleppo Pepper, and so on, are by definition single origin. By the way, on our website you can see the country of origin of every spice.

It is difficult to apply single origin status for Spanish paprika, however, as paprika is grown in countries such as Africa and South America and shipped to Spain for processing, from whence it is identified as Spanish paprika. It would also be unusual to find single origin Spanish saffron, as this spice is imported from Iran to boost Spain’s small domestic yield.

Autumn Box of Ideas

The new Autumn Box of Ideas is available now, at the usual $25.00 price, to give you some inspiration to widen your repertoire as the weather cools. With 32 Degrees Spice Mix, Butter Chicken, ground ginger, Thai Red Curry, and Panch Phora, you’ll find a bit of a curry theme running through, but not necessarily the type you’d find at your local take-away. Teaming dumplings with a creamy mild curry blurs the boundaries (no single origins here!) and overall warm tastiness is the winner.

What’s New at Herbie’s?

We’ve created a delicious, tasty Turkish Spice Mix, with herbs and spices iconic to that region: sumac, Aleppo pepper, mint, cumin, parsley, bay leaves, tomato powder. We cooked the famous eggplant dish, Imam Bayildi (the name comes from the story that the Imam fainted when he realized how much expensive olive oil his wife had used in the dish!) with a couple of teaspoons of the Turkish Spice, and it was indeed a delight. And speaking of delights, our Turkish Delights Spice Kit is unavailable at present whilst we re-work it to include the lovely new spice mix and some new recipes, and it will re-emerge as simply the Turkish Spice Kit (It seems that “Turkish Delights” confused some customers, who thought it was a kit for making the classic sweet treat, Turkish Delight.)

Herbie’s on a roll, and two new blends reflect growing interest in South America. Tempero Baiano (parsley, turmeric, nutmeg, oregano, pepper, chilli, salt) is a fantastic regional Brazilian seasoning for meats, and the Chimichurri Spice Mix is a tasty, garlicky, herby base that, mixed with water, vinegar and oil, becomes the famous chimichurri sauce for accompanying cooked meats. We have also used it as a rub for lamb or beef cooked on the barbecue, with delicious results.

  • Turkish Spice Mix – 25 grams – $ 4.40
  • Tempero Baiano – 25 grams – $ 4.75
  • Chimichurri Mix – 25 grams – $ 4.30

Moveable Feast

Herbie and long time friend Lyndey Milan took one 1961 convertible EK Holden named Edna around some of Australia’s most stunning food and wine regions. Voila, the TV series “Lyndey and Herbie’s Moveable Feast” on air on 7TWO Saturday afternoons at 2:30pm. Episode 2 goes to air 14th March when Lyndey and Herbie visit artisan producers in the Byron Bay region of New South Wales. Subsequent episodes will be aired depending on the station’s sports commitments.

Some Further News

We have become aware of customers having difficulty with purchases of Iranian Saffron from websites apart from ours. If the selling website processes payments using PayPal, this US-based company will ban the purchase on the grounds that the USA has trade embargoes on Iranian goods. Because the Herbie’s Spices website doesn’t use PayPal, it is not a problem if you purchase through our own website.

We’ve had some staff changes at Herbie’s. We wish our previous staff well in their new endeavours, and are happy to welcome Gretchen and Brigette to our team. You will find them warm and helpful, and our fabulous Herbie’s sales service will not vary.

Our jaws are dropping in line with the drop of the Australian dollar, as it affects what we have to pay for all those beautiful spices from all over the world. There will be no increase in the cost to you at this stage, but seeing the huge leaps in some prices from our suppliers, you’d better expect that, if the dollar doesn’t rise soon, we are going to need to pass these costs on to you at some time.

We have been stocking vanilla beans from Mexico since we opened in 1997, always sourced from the same supplier (single origin!). In 2014 climatic conditions were such that the beans are very small, however they are still full of flavour, and due to their size you now find three beans in each pack. For those looking for a high proportion of seeds to bean, you will probably choose the vanilla bean from Nuie, which has one plump and succulent bean per pack.

Happy Autumn Spicing

Herbie and Liz

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